'Precedent-setting': Purdue's canine care certification sets rigorous rules for breeders

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue's college of veterinary medicine recently achieved a milestone in animal welfare by approving its first 100 canine care certified dog breeders.

According to a release, Purdue's CCC program sets rigorous, science-based and expert-reviewed requirements for breeders. The CCC program offers answers to questions both breeders and pet owners may have.

"This program does the ethical and scientific homework for the customer,” said Candace Croney, professor and director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science in the colleges of agriculture and veterinary medicine at Purdue. “It allows people to make an informed choice about a breeder’s commitment to animal welfare when they are trying to bring a healthy, happy dog into their home, and it helps identify and support good breeders, rather than puppy mills that disregard animal welfare entirely."

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The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Friday, April 26, 2019 in West Lafayette.
The Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Friday, April 26, 2019 in West Lafayette.

Purdue's CCC program standards for adult dogs and puppies exceed current regulations, according to the release, and ensure that breeders give the utmost attention to their dogs' physical, genetic and behavioral health.

These standards fall into five pillars of care: nutrition, veterinary care, housing, handling and exercise.

“What we’ve created here — along with a third-party auditing scheme, which is widely recognized as best practice in animal assurance — is precedent-setting for the U.S. and global pet industries and pet families, and should be a huge point of pride for Purdue and the state of Indiana,” Croney said.

Croney originally created the initial standards of care in 2013 based on pre-existing and ongoing research. She then further developed the standards in collaboration with leaders in animal science and veterinary medicine who hold expertise information in canine welfare sciences, according to Purdue.

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This program evolved impart due to the requests of Indiana Amish dog breeders who wanted to improve their - publicly criticized - operations. Once the members of Amish dog breeders learned of the tools and knowledge to improve their operations, they became much more open to "doing things differently," Croney said.

Breeders who voluntarily become CCC certified set themselves apart as high-quality breeders that provide industry-leading care, Purdue states. Lonnie Wagler, the first CCC breeder, can attest to the program's positive outcomes.

“Once we were following the standards, we saw pups and parents that were much more social and now have no trouble moving right into loving homes,” Wagler said in the release.

Other CCC breeders have also seen these positive results of the program.

"I gauge the success of the program on our puppy families’ response, and it is very positive for raising the bar for everyone involved,” said CCC breeder John Troyer. “This is truly going to be game-changing.”

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This program and the breeders it produces shows Purdue's commitment to transforming the breeding industry with the support and leadership of the Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science.

“Purdue’s history of leadership on animal welfare is well known and long standing,” Croney said in the release. “Because we are a land-grant university and have well-established animal welfare science expertise, we can conduct and translate the science to the end users through outreach. Even better, the research outcomes and feasibility of the program are backed up directly by the participating breeders. It is the Extension model perfectly in play.”

CCC's 100th breeder, Matten Schwartz, looks forward to other breeders the CCC will produce.

“This is something that all breeders should do,” Schwartz said. “I look forward to meeting the 1,000th breeder.”

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Purdue's canine care program sets rigorous requirements for breeders